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In the Garden of Beasts

Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Larson, Erik (Book - 2012? )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
In the Garden of Beasts


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Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Devil in the White City, delivers a remarkable story set during Hitler's rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the "New Germany," she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler's true character and ruthless ambition. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.
Authors: Larson, Erik, 1954-
Title: In the garden of beasts
love, terror, and an American family in Hitler's Berlin
Publisher: New York :, Broadway Paperbacks,, [2012?], c2011.
Edition: 1st pbk. ed.
Characteristics: xviii, 448 p. :,ill., maps ;,21 cm.
Notes: "Originally published in hardcover in slightly different form in the United States by Crown Publishers ... in 2011"--T.p. verso.
ISBN: 030740885X
9780307408853
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Report This Jan 27, 2013
  • msevinrud rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Have to agree with Michelle - just could not wade through all the non-relevant drivel. Made it more than 1/2 way but had a stack of books that seemed way more interesting so just quit reading. Was disappointed as author had been recommended to me.

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • susarrey rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent book, exceedingly well-researched and well-written as we've come to expect of Larson. I consider myself to be a bit of a history buff and had already heard of Martha Dodd, but the details of Ambassador Dodd and his family's experiences in Germany were fascinating.

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • llwboston rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This was a disappointing read. I was expecting a compelling narrative along the lines of Larson's Devil in the White City. While he does gives us a vivid portrait of daily life in Berlin in the first years of the Nazi regime, I wish he had focused on more interesting people, especially Americans in Berlin who were challenging the accepted view of the regime. I did learn some interesting history,such as the "trial" against the Nazis in Central Park, and the plot to try to overthrow Hitler. But there are some loose ends, such as what happened to the family in the ambassador's residence after the ambassador left? It's as if Larson focused on the least interesting person at the center of these events.

Report This Nov 24, 2012
  • sdsmith12 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Erik Larson's books make history come to life through fascinating stories. This story is no different. Larson gives the reader a view through the eyes of the Dodds inside Hitler's Berlin. I felt that this book was a lot more detailed than The Devil in the White City. Mr. Dodd and his daughter Martha kept journals about their daily lives in Berlin. A lot of the information in this book is pulled from this. I enjoyed every bit of it and highly recommend.

Report This Oct 05, 2012
  • lisastitch rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An interesting perspective on Hitler's rise to power, which held my interest, even on a second reading. I am not fond of Larson's style, but would recommend the book.

Report This Sep 30, 2012
  • wstone1023 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

ZZZZ. Couldn't even finish it. Way too detailed. I was just shy of half way through when I gave up. Very interesting story, but painfully descriptive.

Report This Aug 06, 2012
  • BlueHippo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Another great book from Mr. Larson. An absolutely fascinating look at the lives of these people in the run-up to WWII. The only thing I would have lied is a little more detail on exactly WHAT it was that Margaret did for the Soviets. Maybe there is no more info than what he presents.

Report This Aug 03, 2012
  • zipread rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin --- by Eric Larson. Yes, this is the same Erik Larson who wrote Isaac’s Storm. The two could not be any more different than this. However, the sense of foreboding, of disaster to come, is crafted into both of these works.Both books speak of the inevitable disaster to come. Beasts focuses on a narrow sliver of time in the early 1930 when Hitler was only just beginning to consolidate his power over Germany. William E. Dodd, an academic historian accepted FDR’s offer to become the US Ambassador to a turbulent Germany. Unlike those who had declined the appointment before him, Dodd was neither independently wealthy nor politically connected. In truth, Dodd was nobody’s first choice. And yet, of all the Foggy Bottom mandarins he was the first to see and the first to sound the alarm about Herr Hitlerthe thuggery; the SS and the SA on the street and in the middle of the nights; the burgeoning anti-semitism fanned by the Naz'is hate machinery. But no one paid attention; certainly not those moneyed fops who paid more attention to what they perceived as Dodd’sdiplomatic shortcomings than to the storm clouds that were gathering over Deutschland. This is also as much a book about Dodd’s daughter who along with her mother and brother accompanied the Mister Ambassador to Germany. The writing is impeccably good; the place and time of this work are riveting.

started it but could not get into it--was boring

Report This Jul 06, 2012
  • Krafcisin rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Very readable history of early 30's Berlin. The details of Martha Dodd's doings spice up the political details. For a flavor of Hitler Germany, highly recommended.

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